1.Everyone shall possess the right to freely express and publicise his thoughts in words, images or by any other means, as well as the right to inform others, inform himself and be informed without hindrance or discrimination 2.Exercise of the said rights shall not be hindered or limited by any type or form of censorship Constitution of the Portuguese Republic, Article 37.º

McCanns sue a Portuguese Newspaper for Headline publication: “PJ believes parents killed Maddie”

The McCann Couple Back in August 2007 had announced their intent to sue the Tal & Qual, which ran the headline “PJ acredita que os pais mataram Maddie” [PJ believes that the parents killed Maddie]. The paper cited an unnamed police source and said that the police “are almost absolutely certain that Madeleine was killed by accident by her parents”, who they believe gave her too many sedatives to help her sleep.

Today in 24Horas: McCann advances against “T&Q”: Former Director and Journalist of the extinct weekly newspaper were formally constituted as arguidos

Kate and Gerry McCann believe that the publication of the headline “PJ believes that the parents killed Maddie” put the public world-wide opinion against them

The former director and a journalist of the extinct weekly newspaper “Tal&Qual” (T&Q) were formally accused by the parents of Madeleine McCann of the crime of slander, in the sequence of a publication, on 24th of August of last year, of a front cover headline, which highlighted: “The PJ believes that the parents killed Maddie”.

Emídio Fernando was heard yesterday afternoon, in the capacity of arguido, in the section of inquiries of the PSP, in the Avenida de Cintura do Porto de Lisboa. The journalist Catarina Vaz Guerreiro, author of the text to that front cover had already been heard, at the end of 2007.

Problems with the notification to the former director of “T&Q” made only possible his hearing yesterday at the PSP inquest headquarters.

24horas knows that, the McCanns - at this processual phase do not request civil compensations – they claim that the publication of that piece of news changed the perception of the international public opinion relatively to their supposed involvement in the disappearance of the daughter.

Two weeks after the publication of the “T&Q” headline, Kate and Gerry were formally constituted as arguidos in the “Maddie case”.

Slander, They Say

“I am perfectly calm, I maintain everything that I’ve always said and I wrote. I am absolutely sure of my sources, so much that, fifteen days later, that one was confirmed”, said to 24horas Emídio Fernando, in a first reaction to the accusation of slander that is imposed on him. “I have an absolute tranquillity. I have no problem with this. I never had. Not even in the day itself. I was absolutely sure of publishing the article and how it was going to be published”, he added.

Catarina Vaz Guerreiro, in her turn, found the accusation “absurd”, since the information given by the weekly newspaper came then to be confirmed with the constitution of Kate and Gerry as arguidos.

Madeleine McCann disappeared in the 3rd of May of 2007 in the tourist resort of the Ocean Club, in Praia da Luz, Algarve

Murat can become a Rich Man

Robert Murat, one of the arguidos in case of the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, was the first one advancing with defamations processes against the British and Portuguese Media, he risks becoming a millionaire if he wins the actions that his lawyer interposed. Only in the United Kingdom, Murat, a businessman connected with the property sector, sued 13 newspapers and a TV channel, from whom he asks for one of the biggest compensations in the history of the kingdom: two million pounds, more than 2,5 million euros. In Portugal, there were already different publications to which the lawyer of Murat, Francisco Pagarete, advanced with complaints for slander. “JN”, “CM”, TVI and RTP make part of the accused' roll. Also Gonçalo Amaral, the inspector formerly connected with the case, is going to advance with complaints for defamation against various English newspapers.

Side Note: If the publisher and journalist of “T&Q” are found guilty of criminal libel they could be jailed for up to two years. They could also be fined up to €120 (£80) and €180,000 (£122,000).

More On Tal & Qual (pronounced [taliˈkwaɫ]; loose translation: Just Like That) was a weekly Portuguese tabloid newspaper, established in July 1980, that was published on Fridays. The newspaper was part of the Controlinveste group. Its last edition came out on 28 September 2007. The paper closed because of a drop in circulation, down from over 21,000 in 2004 to 13,000 by the end of 2006.

On 31 August 2007, the parents of Madeleine McCann announced that they were suing the newspaper for libel after the newspaper reported that the "police believe" Kate and Gerry McCann killed Madeleine, suggesting she may have died in an accident or from a drugs overdose. The police stressed that the McCanns were not suspects (at the time: they later became so), but Tal & Qual stood by the story. The journalist who wrote the article, Catarina Vaz Guerreiro, said "I can't reveal my source, but I have complete trust in them. I strongly believe that the person that gave us this information is telling the truth."


  1. T&Q will obviously lose the case unless they give up their source to prove they ran the story in good faith.
    The McCanns seem to be very confident of their situatin..which I find extremely worrying, it will now be the protuguese press gagging themselves as the British media did after the Daily express back down.
    There will soon be no information on this case, and Madeleine will become a distant memory...as she is for them bastard McCanns

  2. I’m not so sure that the McCanns will be successful with this libel action. The paper made the statement, “The police believe the parents killed Maddie.” The key words here are “the police believe.” Obviously they wouldn’t have named them as suspects if they did not believe that the couple had something to do with the child’s disappearance. Are the McCanns going to argue that Tal & Qual doesn’t know the exact reason why the McCanns were named suspects?

    I think they quickly received settlements in England because the papers facing libel action decided that the financial losses would be less if they settled out of court rather than engage in protracted trials. Their increased sales as a result of these articles probably more than compensated for their losses.


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